Before she ran a nonprofit office adorned with inspirational quotes, she served five years in a Florida state prison for grand theft and fraud. Before that, she voted in every presidential election she could.
“We are all born with a need to belong, that’s why a lot of kids go into gangs,” Nichols said. “Voting gives voice to people, you belong to society, you belong to culture. So when my voice matters, then I have a buy-in in the community.”
Currently, the only way for someone with a felony conviction to regain his or her right to vote is to ask the governor directly for clemency.
Amendment 4 needs 60 percent of the vote to pass. But it has garnered support across the political spectrum.
There is one organization that is advocating against it: Floridians for a Sensible Voting Rights Policy.
“There are certainly inspirational stories about people who have turned their lives around and whom, most would probably agree, may be entitled to clemency and restoration of voting rights,” executive director Richard Harrison told CNBC in an email. “But that decision should be made on an individualized, case by case basis.”
Angel sees it differently.
“I am exceptional because people have made exceptions for me,” Sanchez said. “And I think if we have a system that doesn’t depend on exceptions, but rather making exceptional stories the norm, we will have more stories like mine.”
Watch the video above to learn more and to meet some of the former felons fighting for their right to vote.